The Dayton Business Journal published an article titled, “CRG Venture Studio launches new electric aviation company” about the formation of Lectratek LLC. An excerpt below:
“Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG), a privately held aerospace and defense firm based in Miami Township, announced Monday its new company — Lectratek LLC. The new business, launched by CRG’s Venture Studio unit, is an electric aviation technology company. It is focused on powering “eAviation” tech for an industry the company says is poised for dramatic growth in the coming years.”
The Dayton Daily News published an article on the formation of Lectratek by CRG’s Venture Studio, titled “Miami Twp. defense contractor announces new aviation spinoff.” An excerpt is below:
“Creating new businesses and divisions is all in a day’s work for Cornerstone. Lectratek will take advantage of CRG-developed technologies, including engineering services and aircraft parts related to electric propulsion, advanced composites and safe energy storage, the company said in a release,” says an excerpt from the article.
CRG’s Venture Studio today has launched an electric aviation (eAviation) technology company, Lectratek LLC. This new company is focused on powering eAviation technologies for an industry poised for dramatic growth.
Lectratek leverages core proprietary technologies developed over the years by CRG. Initial offerings will include engineering services and aircraft components related to electric propulsion, advanced affordable composites, and safe energy storage. Growth over time is anticipated to eventually touch virtually all aspects of electric aviation powertrains and some structural components. The new company is already off to a strong start, leveraging over $25 million of prior DoD/NASA investment at CRG, including three new Agility Prime contracts.
“Nothing could be more appropriate to the Dayton region’s inventive roots than growing a company to be a leader in the next wave of aviation,” said CRG’s CEO Patrick Hood. “Electric aviation is rapidly moving from something people dream about to something people will use every day, and Lectratek is positioned to be a leader in the field.”
Lectratek is the first new company coming out of CRG’s recently formed Venture Studio to gain critical mass, according to Andrew Cothrel, CRG’s Chief Venture Officer. “We are really pleased with how quickly customer demand is becoming tangible for Lectratek, particularly for our highly unique propulsion solutions,” said Cothrel. “While it is still early days in eAviation, this is a market forecasting to be worth $178B by 2040, and we think Lectratek has something to offer that can lead to enduring success.”
NASA has selected 17 U.S. companies for partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies for the Moon and beyond through the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s 2020 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.
CRG will evaluate a 3-D printing method that makes use of slurry-based thermoset resins to fabricate thermal protective systems. CRG will partner with NASA centers to test and evaluate the material’s performance in flight-relevant environments, utilizing NASA facilities and experts at Johnson and Ames.
Other companies involved in these space technologies include Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
The Dayton Business Journal posted an article about CRG’s zoning approval to commence a battery manufacturing process at its new facility at 8821 Washington Church Road. CRG acquired the property in January, 2020, and it added 126,000 square feet of manufacturing or production space, 36,000 square feet of warehouse space and 12,000 square feet of office space.
“The [zoning] decision will enable CRG to outfit a 2,000-square-foot space inside the building to develop batteries for the Department of Defense that are approximately the size and thickness of a credit card,” said Jeffrey Bennett, CRG’s Vice President of Operations. “Five to eight of them will be put together in a pack, so it will be about the size of a deck of cards. It is then incorporated into body armor for troops on the ground.”
Upon completion and renovation, the new facility will be CRG’s third location in the Dayton region.
CRG announced today the formal launch of its Venture Studio. The CRG Venture Studio will be in charge of identifying and prioritizing commercial opportunities coming out of CRG’s innovations and then creating new startup companies.
CRG has established a successful track record of commercializing new technologies, spinning off five companies over the past 15 years, including Spintech Holdings and Advantic. However, as CRG’s founder and CEO, Patrick Hood said, “The breadth and depth of technology and inventions that CRG’s employees have created over the years is mind-boggling. We needed a methodical way to more rapidly tap that potential for the benefit of future medical, consumer, and industrial customers as well as to more effectively grow the value of the business.”
The CRG Venture Studio is dedicated to identifying CRG’s most promising commercial opportunities and spinning off new companies to bring those innovations to market. “We investigated a lot of options, looking at the state of the art in business accelerators, incubators, studios, and other concepts for improving the odds of successful technology commercialization,” said Chris Hemmelgarn, CRG’s Chief Revenue Officer. “While we know there will be some lessons and pivots, we are confident we are on the right track to unlock an enormous amount of company value and societal benefit from the Venture Studio… we think we have already identified the next five new startup company opportunities.”
Collaborators within Southwest Ohio’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including The Entrepreneur’s Center (TEC), are enthusiastic about CRG’s Venture Studio. “We are excited to work with CRG and its Venture Studio to translate ground-breaking defense technologies into broader commercial use,” said Scott Koorndyk, CEO of TEC. “This is a huge boost for the region’s ecosystem and a great opportunity for new high-tech companies to take root in the region.”
HEATCON®, Inc., a world market leader in composite repair solutions and material supply, has entered into an agreement with Cornerstone Research Group to license CRG’s Deployable Isolation Repair Technology (DIRT BagTM) products for manufacture and distribution.
“This new product is a game changer for those working in repair technology, and we are excited to partner with CRG to bring the DIRT BagTM to the composite repair market,” said Eric Casterline, President of HEATCON. “This product is an ideal complement to Heatcon’s portable composite repair equipment, further reducing the time needed to complete a repair.”
The DIRT BagTM is used by both military and commercial aircraft repair organizations, is listed in Boeing structural repair manuals and the F-35 General Use Consumables List (GUCL), and can be used for other applications where contamination control is needed. It can be set up in minutes and customized for each repair or coating removal situation.
Cornerstone Research Group is under contract with the Missile Defense Agency to manufacture high-temperature, carbon-carbon composite materials that enable advanced hypersonic technologies. This $7 million contract was made possible by provisions Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) included in the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and in FY 2020 Defense Appropriations.
Congressman Turner said, “This contract between Cornerstone Research Group and the Missile Defense Agency will reduce costs, increase production, and enhance performance of maturing high-speed platforms required to counter emerging threats from our nation’s near-peer adversaries.” Read the press release here.
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL’s) Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Division and the contractor team of Cornerstone Research Group, A&P Technology and CRG’s affiliate, Spintech LLC, conducted research to quantify the benefits of replacing legacy manufacturing processes with novel processes for the fabrication of an 11-foot long, S-shaped engine inlet duct.
The approach replaces the hand applied composite prepreg with an automated overbraid process which applies dry fiber to a mandrel. The very heavy multi-piece steel mandrel was replaced with a light-weight single-piece shape-memory polymer mandrel and the dry braided carbon fiber was processed with a low cost epoxy resin using a vacuum assisted resin transfer molding process. The team completed analysis of the overbraid architecture, fabrication of a shape memory polymer (SMP) forming tool and construction of the SMP mandrel that will serve as the tool during the preform overbraid process.
One of the primary goals of this program is to understand part cost and production time benefits from introducing the new tooling and processing solutions. The final inlet duct will be delivered to the government for further integration into the Aerospace System’s Directorate’s complementary airframe design and manufacturing program. Personnel at the Aerospace Vehicles Division will conduct static ground testing of the integrated braided fuselage and inlet duct structure. Read full article here.
In January of 2020, Chrysa Theodore, VP of Community Relations, was invited to deliver a KEEN Talk at the 2020 KEEN National Conference.
KEEN is a national partnership of universities with the shared mission to educate engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can create personal, economic, and societal value through a lifetime of meaningful work. They realize science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers need more than just technical know-how; they also need to figure out how to create value for themselves and for others. In other words, they need to understand the business side of their contributions. An entrepreneurial mindset centers around three C’s: curiosity, connections and creating value. CRG looks for employees with such an entrepreneurial mindset.
CRG’s relationship with KEEN began when Chrysa was asked to participate in an industry panel at the 2019 KEEN National Conference. CRG was a natural fit because of the company’s testament to why an entrepreneurial mindset makes a difference. This mindset is critical to any CRG employee’s success. The university partners reacted positively to the 2019 industry panel and appreciated the industry perspective of the need and desire for entrepreneurial mindset in employees.
Chrysa was then invited to give a talk at the KEEN National conference in January, a video of which follows. Her talk focused on how CRG’s corporate culture enables its Level 5 leaders to serve customers’ needs. Level 5 leadership is a term coined by Jim Collins in his best-selling book, “Good to Great.” Level 5 leaders are humble and fearless, a combination of personal humility and professional will. CRG seeks Level 5 leadership in every employee.